The Atlanta Falcons earned their first victory in Mercedes Benz Stadium under Arthur Smith against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. It wasn’t a “pretty” game by any means, but there are always silver linings if you look for them — namely, Kyle Pitts. The 2021 fourth overall pick had an outstanding game when much of the offense faltered.
The offensive line couldn’t open rushing lanes for the running backs, nor could they hold up in pass protection — three sacks on the opening drive. But at least Pitts had a day, catching all six of his targets for 102 yards — his third 100+ yard performance of the season. Last week, he was also named to his first Pro Bowl as a rookie, thanks to his 949 total receiving yards as the team approaches the final two weeks of the season.
The effort against Detroit wasn’t only good enough for the win, but it was also good enough to surpass Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez for the most receiving yards by a tight end in franchise history. Tony G put up 930 yards in 2012, and Pitts exceeded that in his very first season. He also has a great chance to post a 1,000-yard season. Pitts knows just how special it is to be mentioned in the same sentence as one of the best tight ends of all time.
“It means a lot to me because I personally think he is the best ever,” Pitts said via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s someone that I’ve always watched so it feels great.”
Pitts is just scratching the surface of his potential. In his first year as a professional, he’s been voted to the Pro Bowl and broken a franchise record. For many, that would be the pinnacle of their careers, but Pitts isn’t satisfied. The more he plays, the more he will learn the nuances of Arthur Smith’s offense and better understand how teams want to defend him. The sky really is the limit for someone like Pitts, usually, one that ends in Canton with a gold jacket.